A Brief Introduction to Structuring an Essay Brought to You by The Writing Center University of Scranton Scranton, PA
Key Organizational Elements • Active, controlling thesis • Anchor paragraphs • Conclusion
Thesis • Must express the unifying idea • Must be active and concise • (?) does (?) to (?) • Must be easily identifiable
Anchor Paragraphs • Introduce, but do not necessarily complete, the development of an area of discussion • Lead into one or more subparagraphs which will resolve the particular area of development • Develop the entire weight of support for the thesis herein
Conclusion • The conclusion should concentrate the argument of the rest of the paper and, based on that argument, forcefully restate (not repeat) the thesis.
Essential Skills • Transition sentences • Active verb use • Unity of intent • Logical progression
Transitioning • Bridging between paragraphs • Link the last idea of one paragraph to the first idea of the next and/or • Use the same noun or verb in the last sentence of one paragraph and the first sentence of the next
Active verb use • When writing an essay, always prefer active over passive voice. Example: Passive: The ball was hit by the boy. Active: The boy hit the ball. • Avoid using forms of the verb “to be” (i.e., “is”, “are”, etc.) whenever possible.
Unity of Intent • All information cited should relate to the thesis • Each paragraph should address one and only one topic
Logical Progression • Ideas must flow into each other • Progress chronologically • Progress from the general to the specific • Give background first and then analyze details relevant to the thesis
Outline Thesis ¶ Thesis Anchor ¶ I Introduction Background (if necessary) Sub¶s to A¶I (if necessary) Anchor ¶ II Area 1 Sub¶s to A¶II (if necessary) Anchor ¶ III (more may follow if necessary) Area 2 Sub¶s to A¶III (if necessary) Conclusion
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